Mike works with a diverse set of partners across the Southwest U.S. to ensure the resilience of the last, best free-flowing rivers in the Colorado River and Rio Grande systems. This work takes many forms, including proactive protection of high-value rivers, defending threatened rivers, public lands policy formulation, grassroots advocacy, strategic partnerships, and connecting people to rivers through storytelling and personal engagement.
Before starting the Southwest River Protection Program in Fall 2019, Mike was the Conservation Director for the Northern Rockies Region. Prior to joining American Rivers in 2001, he was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Forest Service working on climate change mitigation. As an avid paddler, long-time river guide and Senior Field Instructor at NOLS, Mike has paddled over 16,000 miles of rivers in the West.
Education: M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana (2008); B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Philosophy from Michigan State University (1997)
Favorite River: Yampa River
River Story: The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” This has never been truer for me than when I’ve been lucky enough to spend multiple weeks rowing and exploring the bottom of the “Big Ditch” on a private boating tip. Whether it’s due to the trip’s remoteness and beauty, the intimacy of the group or the combination of heart-pounding whitewater and sinuous, hidden side canyons, an expedition down the Grand Canyon never fails to change my perspective on life. It’s sheer magic.